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Relayer (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

First things first. It's unlikely that this remaster will convert anyone who rejected Relayer in the past. Even more than its predecessor, the sprawling Tales from Topographic Oceans, Relayer was the sound of a band that built its reputation on vast, ambitious ideas, facing up to the fact that it had completely run out of them — and the so-ponderous intro to "The Gates of Delirium" remains the most disappointing opening that any Yes album has ever endured. How sad that they didn't forget the final mix and go with the studio runthrough instead. Closing the three bonus tracks that pack out the 2003 remaster of Relayer, a full-length blast through that side-long disappointment packs a sparkle and energy that the released version absolutely lacks. The guitars and keyboards shimmer, Anderson's vocal is alive with enthusiasm, and there's a dynamism to the rhythms that simply echoes through your head. Elsewhere among these remasters, the alternate versions of familiar songs have offered little more than a rough blueprint of subsequent majesties. This time, the outtake is the best thing in sight, with the closing "Soon" section standing among the finest Yes recordings of all. "Soon" reappears again among the bonus tracks, in the form of a tight little single edit; "Sound Chaser," too, made it onto 45, and it's intriguing to hear its original nine minutes cut down to just over three, dominated by guitar lines and a loping rhythm that wouldn't have been out of place on a Led Zeppelin album. The "cha-cha-cha" chorus is still annoying, though, and the bulk of the remastered Relayer will doubtless languish unplayed in your CD collection. For that astonishing reappraisal of "Gates of Delirium," however, it's worth the cost of admission.


Formed: 1968 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Far and away the longest lasting and the most successful of the '70s progressive rock groups, Yes proved to be one of the lingering success stories from that musical genre. The band, founded in 1968, overcame a generational shift in its audience and the departure of its most visible members at key points in its history to reach the end of the century as the definitive progressive rock band. Their audience remained huge because they had always attracted younger listeners drawn to their mix of daunting...
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Relayer (Deluxe Version), Yes
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